Busy day in the beer community in the city today. First, some bad news. The PC government has cancelled the Craft Beer Loan program that had been announced under the NDP. While not part of their mandate, it was certainly something looked to as a boon to already existing and developing breweries. Its cancellation will have an impact, sadly, but to what extent is yet to be seen.
On a positive note, Half Pints is having their 12 beers of Christmas, Torque has a couple of new beers on at their taproom, Barn Hammer is doing another night of Barn Raising and PEG has a new beer being launched. So, while there is certainly a hit to the craft beer community through the cancellation of the loan program, the current craft breweries are alive and doing their best to engage the community.
The brewery was founded in 2013 by a couple of beer lovers and amateur brewers. Wanting to bring their beers and a love for the craft to the people in their region, they decided to make a go professionally. They are one of the new development of breweries that seem to be popping up in France. The brewery is located close to the town centre so as to reintroduce the brewing industry to the urban environment.
They produce a wide range of beers ranging from an Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon to a Saison, to the amber we are trying aged in Cognac Barrels. What’s even more interesting about their beers is that they partner with local artists and tattooists to develop designs for their labels. This creates some really neat artwork and makes for a unique experience when drinking their beer.
Amber Ales are, obviously, amber in colour, hoppy, and moderate strength. Balance between these two components can vary quite a bit depending on the brewer. In the versions that are hopped this component shouldn’t clash with the caramel malty notes. The style is darker and more caramelly than a typical pale ale with less bitterness than an APA. This one has been aged in Cognac Barrels and I’m looking forward to that aspect of it.
Appearance – Pours a hazy amber with a good 1” head.
Smell – Smell is of caramel, oak, cognac, plums and an alcohol note on nose.
Taste – Tastes of oak, cognac, dark fruit, caramel malty sweetness that is almost like candied sugar. Alcohol warmth is noticeable all the way through.
Mouth feel – Medium-full bodied with an oily mouthfeel and soft carbonation. Alcohol warmth is present throughout.
Overall – The cognac and oak aging of this beer are really front and centre. The amber ale base brings some nice malt components to it but are overpowered by the alcohol warmth and cognac notes. If there are any hops in here, they are lost.
Do I like it? – I’m a pretty big fan of oak aged beers. The use of Cognac barrels was really quite nice and brought some of that complexity found in cognac to the beer. It’s strong and noticeably so, so it was more of a sipping beer, but I enjoyed it.